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ACRA advisory: How to do a background check on suspicious companies

Members of public should visit the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority website to check whether a business is registered and compliant with the Companies Act.

SINGAPORE: The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) on Wednesday (June 18) issued an advisory calling on the public to be alert when dealing with companies that do not state their name and registration number in business correspondences.

Under Section 144 of the Companies Act, firms must identify themselves explicitly during such correspondences. This is to ensure the public is aware of the identity of the corporate entity that issued the letter, and to prevent companies from "impersonating or purporting to represent another company or government agency", ACRA said.

The public can conduct a basic search via the ACRA website to find out if a company is registered, as well as check its business address, registration number and compliance rating with basic requirements of the Companies Act. Firms can file or update their records at BizFile, ACRA's online filing and information retrieval system.

ACRA cited the example of Data Register, which has been charged under Section 144 of the Companies Act.

In January, ACRA brought 52 charges against the firm, previously known as Company Register, for failing to display its company name and another 52 charges for not displaying its registration number in its correspondences with companies in November 2013. 

The case is now before the State Court, and has also been referred to the Commercial Affairs Department for investigation, ACRA said.

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